After a full and busy day of ATP Masters 1000 drama in Madrid, the quarterfinal matches are set. There may be a case for suggesting that this is the highest quality quarterfinal lineup of 2022 so far. But who will qualify for the semifinals, and how much drama will there be? Read on to find out our take.
ATP Madrid Quarterfinal Predictions
Novak Djokovic vs Hubert Hurkacz
Previous Meetings: Djokovic 3-0 Hurkacz
The Serbian will have been surprised but probably glad of the day off after Andy Murray had to withdraw from their third-round clash an hour before they were due to play. However, Djokovic does seem to need match practice and match fitness ahead of Roland Garros.
Hurkacz is having his best-ever clay-court season. He will have to improve again to win this but is definitely on an upward trajectory on the surface.
I am going to predict an upset here. I think this could go to three sets and we have seen recently that Djokovic isn’t quite up to making the full three sets with his body intact. Hurkacz took him to a third set tiebreak in their last meeting so will take confidence from that. He could go one step further here.
Prediction: Hurkacz in 3
Andrey Rublev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Previous Meetings: Rublev 5-5 Tsitsipas
This is turning into quite the rivalry. It is not (yet) a top tier rivalry but these two are often getting into the business end of tournaments so it is no surprise that they are regulars on the court together. No one quite has the upper hand yet but on clay the Greek leads 2-1.
Both players average an 85% hold ratio on clay over the last year, but Tsitsipas edges it on return. This is also the case in their head-to-heads and with serve being so key in these Madrid matches one break could make the difference. I am backing Tsitsipas to triumph here.
Prediction: Tsitsipas in 2
Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Alexander Zverev
Previous Meetings: Auger-Aliassime 2-6 Zverev
This was a one-sided head-to-head but the Canadian seems to have gotten a handle on the Russian recently.
The question is, does Auger-Aliassime have a handle on clay? The Madrid conditions will certainly help his dynamic game so it is perhaps less relevant but Zverev totally bossed Auger-Aliassime in Monte Carlo in 2019.
The way that Auger-Aliassime thrashed a very good player in Jannik Sinner in the last round suggests that great strides have been made. Zverev doesn’t quite have the same momentum having had his match vs Lorenzo Musetti cut short. I think that Auger-Aliassime could produce a performance to force Zverev into a game he doesn’t want to play and come out on top.
Prediction: Auger-Aliassime in 2
Rafael Nadal vs Carlos Alcaraz
Previous Meetings: Nadal 2-0 Alcaraz
The match that everyone in Madrid was hoping to happen.
When the pair met at this event last year Alcaraz almost seemed overawed; as an 18-year-old rookie that is not surprising. However, the younger man has grown in stature in the intervening twelve months and is now a Masters event champion and Top 10 player in his own right.
The way that Alcaraz has done it has been authoritative as well. It is almost taken for granted now that he will be a world #1 and multiple Grand Slam champion. He appears to have an all-court game and a big-match mentality. Both attributes equally apply, and have been proven many times over, by his compatriot across the net.
Nadal has come back from another injury setback, and actually, on this occasion, is lucky to have made the quarterfinals. David Goffin blew four set points in a final set tiebreak to spoil the Madridistas’ party. However, the sheer force of will that Nadal was able to exert seemed to make the Belgian wilt, and eventually, Nadal finished the job. He will need to improve on that performance, no matter how well Goffin played, to beat Alcaraz.
Nadal will want to keep Alcaraz down as long as possible. This match could be pivotal in the build-up to Roland-Garros as it could give the young pretender the belief required to take him to the top earlier than thought. It could well go to three sets but I think that Alcaraz has the game and the mental strength to deal with the situation this time and he is the one that is physically more prepared.
Whatever happens, it is must-see action.
Prediction: Alcaraz in 3
Main Photo from Getty.